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Spring planter ideas to brighten up your flower garden

3 min read

Spring planter ideas to brighten up your flower garden
Product developer for horticulture at Waitrose, Christopher Wood, shares some insider tips on how to prep your garden with spring planters and borders
Spring containers are an easy solution for jazzing up a drab patio and boring corners of any garden at this time of year. They can create the impression of a small garden and are so easy to care for too.

Planting your planter

Choosing the right container is important; always think about the style of garden you have. I like a good, weighty terracotta planter. They are great sturdy pots for spring as they don’t blow over in those early spring gales.
Check that the pot has a large drainage hole to ensure that the soil drains well, but always cover it with a crock (like a piece from a broken terracotta flower planter) so that the soil doesn’t block the hole and create problems with drainage later down the line.
Choosing the right compost is key for the success of any planting. I think it’s best to use a mix of peat-free compost and John Innes No3 soil-based compost so that the soil does not become too heavy or waterlogged; especially in spring when we could have plenty of showers.
"Too much water in the soil will freeze"
It can still be frosty right up to May and too much water in the soil will freeze, preventing the plants from taking up the vital water.
Fill your planter leaving approximately four or five inches from the rim so you can add your plants carefully.
Think about the colour scheme of your plants, as well as the texture and shape of the foliage. Plant combinations are important, so always think about mixes which will last as well as annual and perennial ones.
Scent is always a lovely addition to a space as well as wildlife. Select the right plant for your location in your garden—sun or shade-loving.

Think of heights

roses climbing up wall
Height is important to think about when you’re designing your arrangement and where it will be positioned, such as in a central space or in a corner.
Height can be achieved by using tall plants like cornus, or even a decorative frame like an obelisk or trellis—especially if you are choosing climbing plants like a rose.
"A cluster of pots forces the eye to look around"
If you don’t have a tall plant then you can always raise your pot off the ground with old house bricks or decorative terracotta pot feet, or use steps in your garden to create interest and drama.
I also like to group pots together in different sizes; a cluster of pots forces the eye to look around and take in each pot and plant combination, especially when you are using similar plant varieties.
A nice option is planting summer flowering bulbs like Dahlia or Lily to create a summer impact.

Beds and borders

Bulbs are superb for filling gaps in beds and borders; tuck them between herbaceous perennials and evergreen grasses in drifts of single species to blend with the planting scheme or plant a range of varieties to create splashes of colour.
Remember to mark where you have planted them; it is amazingly easy to forget where they are!
Gladioli are great for backs of borders. Flowering at 60-120cm, they are ideal as a backdrop to other plants and bulbs.

When to plant

begonia in spring planter
Summer flowering bulbs, corms and tubers can be planted in the spring, as soon as the risk of frost has passed, until the end of May.
Follow the instructions on the back of the packs but, generally, plant bulbs, corms and tubers twice as deep as the bulb is tall—although Begonias and Dahlias should be planted just under the soil surface.
"Summer flowering bulbs will need a lot of extra water immediately after planting"
Gladiolus should be planted about 12cm apart, Begonia 25cm apart, Lilies 30cm and Dahlia up to 40cm apart.
Summer flowering bulbs will need a lot of extra water immediately after planting to quickly develop their roots. During a dry spring period, water frequently and take particular care with pots and containers as these can quickly dry out in warm weather.
Remove any faded flowers as required.
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